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I wish to share with the Historical members the story of my husband's grandparents, Edward and Agatha Even, as told to me by him and his brother, Robert. (I owe Robert much for the extra effort he put into this article).
The lineage of the Even family has been traced back to 1663 by family members residing in Hagen, Germany.
Edward W. Even immigrated to the United States from Schwelm, Germany arriving at Ellis Island on September 3, 1881. An older brother, Richard, and sister, Ida, were with him and they arrived in the Pueblo Area in 1882. Why they selected this area in Colorado is not readily known, however, it is believed it was due to ethnic acquaintances or perhaps employment opportunities at Pueblo smelters. During his early years in America, Edward worked at the Pueblo smelter. Later, with his brother, Richard, he farmed and raised cattle in the Belle Plain area, near the present day Pueblo Memorial Airport.
Agatha H. Borgman (Edward's bride to be) also came to the United States in 1881, landing July 4th with her mother, Mary Bernadina Borgman Elsing and half sisters, Caroline and Bernadine from Bochum, Germany. Fred Elsing, Agatha's step-father was killed in the Franco-Prussian war. Fred Elsing met the family in New York to bring them to Colorado and his girls didn't recognize him because of his beard.
Edward filed for a homestead in 1888 in the Couzzen Springs area northeast of Beulah and he and Agatha were married August 15, 1889 in St. Patricks church in Pueblo. He received his land patent in 1891 for his homestead.
The homestead house was a two story structure built of logs and prior to a staircase being built, access to the children's sleeping area was a ladder. Through the years, additions and renovations were made to the house. To this day, it is an inhabitable residence. Edward dug a well, by hand, in the canyon west of the house so water was nearby. They had an apple orchard and stored fruit and vegetables in a stone cellar they had built.
They harvested their first corn crop with an Indian hatchet. The corn was 18" tall. Oh, how different from our modern machinery of today. Agatha once related to a granddaughter that during the early years they observed Indians passing through the area, but they never encountered them.
I must mention that Mr. Elsing was struck and killed by lightning while in a pasture north of the Even homestead in the summer of 1904. Agatha found his body.
Eleven of Edward and Agatha's twelve children were born at their homestead home. The family consisted of 8 boys and 4 girls: Albert, Anna, Paul, Ida, Helen, Joseph, Henry, Josephine, William, Richard, Bernard and Aloysius. William died in 1923. All others lived most of their lives in Pueblo County and are buried in the Pueblo area. You will remember one especially, Paul. He was the Beulah Rural mail carrier for 36 years, 1923-1959. Widows of sons, Henry (Vera Bussey) and Aloysius (Phyllis Bornshein) reside in Pueblo.
The children received minimum educaton due to the necessity of making a living. It was told when the three oldest children enrolled at the Couzzen Springs School they could not speak English.
The original Couzzen Springs School was on the Hall farm, adjacent to the Even property.
The boys worked for board and room and the girls worked as servants for prominent Pueblo families or at the Colorado Laundry.
Agatha recalled her husband served on the first grand jury in Pueblo in 1920.
Among the memories held dear was the fact that Agatha always had a pot of coffee simmering on the back of the old wood stove just waiting for whomever might arrive. Also the Christmas celebrations were wonderful as all grandchildren were to recite school parts for all present, and there were popcorn strings and candles burned on the tree. Even during the leanest years, Agatha had Christmas gifts for her chidren, their spouses and her grandchildren. Herbert especially remembers the Easter Egg Hunts in the canyon when older children would help the younger ones.
Agatha was widowed in 1926 and faced the challenge of raising her younger children alone and keeping the Even Ranch intact, which she did very adequately as her children rallied around her.
In 1949, she was named "Olders Pioneer Cowgirl of the year" by the Pueblo Saddle Club at their annual Saddle Club Ball in February.
The land holdings acquired by the Evens through the years are, to this day, retained in the Even family by the children of son, Joe.
Agatha died in 1960 at the age of 90. She was survived by 8 children, 21 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.
Joseph Even's father, Edward W. Even came to America and settled in Pueblo in the early 1880's. He then homsteaded a place in the Couzzins Spring area where his family farmed and raised Herefords. Joseph Even was one of twelve children born to Edward and Agatha Even. Joseph was born March 14, 1900 and died August 14, 1977 after living seventy-seven years on his land. The Even farm was established October 5, 1888 and covered 1600 acres. Joseph and his brothers and sisters went to a one-room school, Couzzins Springs School, which was on a neighbor's property close by. He attended school here through seventh grade when Joseph's father needed him to work on the farm. Joseph quit school to help his father. Joseph was the Pueblo County winner of the Century Farm Family Contest. George Scott, manager of the Colorado State Fair said of the Even family, "We are most pleased to be able to honor a family which has played a significant role in the agricultural process of Colorado for more than a century. Through the hard work of all families honored, Colorado was helped to become one of the major agricultural states in the nation." During the Dust Bowl, times were hard for the Even family. Food and clothing were scarce and Joseph got a job on WPA where he did road work, sawed timber, and hauled dirt in a wheelbarrow for fill around bridges. Joseph worked hard for his family and for the land that would be his children's someday. Joseph purchased his livestock brand in 1926. Other than ranching and farming, Joseph sometimes supplemented the family income working in the clay mines. Canaries were used to detect poisonous gases in the mine. Joseph had a strong work ethic that his children are proud of. They remember him almost never stopping to rest and that was when he was in his sixties. Joseph married Josephine Hanratty in 1927. They had five children, three girls; Lillian, Vivian, and Theresa, and two boys, Everett and James. One child, James Frances, died from pneumonia at three months of age. Everett Even remembers that his father, Joseph, was a water boy for a steam tractor that ran a threshing machine when he was twelve years old. He lovingly recalls that he and his father hauled coal from the Florence coal yards with a team and wagon. They slept in sheds and under bridges during the trips. "I've never known anyone who disliked my dad, and he never had a bad word to say about anyone, something we could all live by today. We loved him dearly."This article was reprinted from the November, 2002 issue of The Beulah Banner.